08/25/2014 02:28 pm ET Updated Oct 25, 2014

Earthquake, Worry and Family

It's been a great week. I'm vacationing at home and dog-sitting while my sister and her family are traveling. Consequently, I slept in this morning. I usually awaken at 6 a.m., have my coffee, 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt, 1/2 a banana, sign on to my laptop for a few minutes then head out to the health club.

Today was different. I stayed up late writing a new article for HP and didn't hit the sheets until 4 a.m.. I can only say how glad I am that I didn't follow my usual routine.

My phone is on 24/7 and is always by my bedside. At 7:40 a.m. I received a text from the youngest (now 20) saying "We are totally OK..." Since we had arranged that I would be texted late at night just as a check in, I was a little annoyed.

I replied with a terse "OK" I had been tempted to add "I appreciate the wake-up call," but I refrained and went back to sleep. At 8:59 a.m. I received another text... "still totally OK Love You." Gee, I guess they miss me, ran through my mind. It's great when you have a wonderful sibling family relationship. I didn't think anything more about it, got up, took the dogs out and then fed them.

I wasn't ready for breakfast yet so I hit the computer to check for emails and to see if people were reading my latest HP/50 article on dating. Heck, most bloggers like to see if their articles are being well-received.

I was just about to move onto the news headlines when my cell phone rang. It was my Sister informing me they were fine and not to worry. "About what?" I innocently asked.

"The earthquake," she replied. "It's the largest in 25 years and it hit in the Napa Valley area. We were in a hotel four miles from the epicenter. We're lucky we were in bed although it shook violently. The TV fell off the wall, all the dresser drawers contents were strewn on the floor, the bathroom was filled with broken glass and the power went out."

'Holy sh*t" I replied, and then was filled in on more of the details. They were very lucky and already headed out of town and going to return home a day early. My sister said she'd call a bit later, as she needed to resume driving and concentrate on the road.

Momentarily, my mind retreated to 25 years ago when my Brother lived in Oakland and the huge earthquake hit. He daily traveled the bridge that collapsed with lives lost and the ensuing utter devastation. I'd been in a bar and saw it happening on the screen. It was a moment I'll never forget... frantic calls were made and 45 minutes later, I learned my brother was fine.

I don't even want to imagine if I'd gotten up at my usual 6:00 a.m. and checked the news, since the first text received was an hour and forty minutes later.

My sister is younger than me and I babysat and have looked out for her as long as I can remember. The same is true with my niece, so between the two of them I've compiled a whole lifetime of overseeing, babysitting, loving, caring and worrying since I was 8 years old.

The reality is all the worrying in the world doesn't change the outcome one bit. And it generally irritates the one being worried about and weakens the immune system of the "worrier," in this case, me.

I write a lot about living a peaceful, minimized stress and mindful life. I do my best to walk the talk and wring the most out of every moment. I perform at least one Mind Acrobatics™ exercise daily.

Yet the truth is, as much as all of us who have loved ones try to let them live their lives, not be intrusive and remain above the daily fray, we can't help a certain amount of worrying and stress over their well-being.

However, this earthquake is also a rude reminder that we don't have control over acts of G-d. No amount of worrying and stressing will change the course of a natural disaster.

Those we care about are aware of our love, so we need to modify how we demonstrate our tendency to show it. Now to the reality of life.

This is the main point of my narrative. Most Baby Boomers have loved ones they care about deeply. However, the combined amount of time caught up in petty disagreements and all the daily stresses of living pale in comparison to what's really most important.

Working with clients, I hear so much about the tension and problems that exist in families. Very little is mentioned about the bottom line reason that all this goes on. It's caring and love. Unfortunately somehow, it gets transformed or should I say degenerates and morphs into petty squabbles.

Perhaps it's a great time to think about what's really important in your life and how deeply you care for your loved ones. It will serve as a motivator to put a halt to complaints and the dissatisfaction that seems to arise on a daily basis.

Take a few moments now to think about how you'd feel if you lost your closest family members. Then decide to take affirmative action.

Make a pledge to actively look for ways you can positively interact with those that mean the most to you. The next time a sharp word is rolling around your tongue, swallow it and put a big smile on your face.

Enjoy your family and seize every opportunity to create positive moments and eliminate as much negativity as possible.

As the song goes, "accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative..."

Of course none of us will ever stop worrying about those we care about, but we can take action to increase the amount and more importantly the quality of time we spend with those who mean the world to us. Create opportunity... be the facilitator of enhanced relationships all around!

Make every effort to spend happy, peaceful and relaxed moments with your family. The years fly by so quickly. You'll be glad you did. Now's a great time. Call a loved one and say hello!

Postscript: Get over the kids and grand kids lack of face time and incessant texting. That's not going to change until the newest digital form of communication arrives... probably in less than a year :)

Contact Dave Kanegis at:

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